Perkiomen Valley rips Ridley, closes in on PIAA berth

LINFIELD — This season has already been marked as successful for Perkiomen Valley.

Undefeated record in the PAC-10? Check.

First PAC-10 championship since 2007? Check.

First berth into the PIAA Class AAA championship since 2007? Not yet.

But with the way the Vikings played Wednesday afternoon on a rain soaked Training Center field, their already historic season might be adding a new chapter.

Laura Shelton and Kelsey Giese each scored twice, Annie Himsworth added two assists and Mara Wrzesniewski played exceptional throughout the middle of the field as the Vikings topped Ridley, 4-0, in a District 1-AAA second round matchup.

Perkiomen Valley will host Council Rock North — 3-0 winners over West Chester East — in the Class AAA quarterfinals. A win and the Vikings qualify for the PIAA tournament.

“We’ve worked really hard this season,’ Shelton said. “If we went to states it’d be awesome. We’ve definitely put the work in and we want to continue our season.’

Cait Johnson made 11 saves for Ridley in a loss that culminates an impressive season from first-year coach Karen Snyder, whose team made the district playoffs after a year absence.

“I’m proud of my girls. They played their hearts out this year,’ Snyder said. “They really came together as a team and I couldn’t have asked for a better team for my first year.

“My starting forward line was outstanding, I had great defense and a great midfield. I even had kids come off the bench who played well for me when I needed them. I had a great all-around team this year.’

Unfortunately, Ridley ran into a brick wall Wednesday as the Vikings limited the Green Raiders to two shots on goal — one in each half — and zero corners. PV’s backs of Kat Bartkowski, Nathalie Sell, Danielle Trommelen, Katie Byram and Lauren Wrzesniewski shined in the second half, only allowing the Green Raiders forwards to cross the offensive 25-yard line twice.

“PV had a great defense,’ Snyder said. “They were the better team today and they walked away with the win. They played well and you can’t knock them for that.’

“I have to give all the credit to Nat Sell and Kat Bartkowski who were amazing in the middle, and our wingbacks Danielle (Trommelen), Wrez (Lauren Wrzesniewski) and KB (Byram) also played very strong,’ PV coach Erik Enters said.

“They are like a brick wall back there,’ Himsworth added. “For us midfielders and forwards, we’re confident that nothing will get past them.’

The offense, meanwhile?

Not too shabby either.

Benefitting from phenomenal stick skills and excellent vision in the midfield from Himsworth and Mara Wrzesniewski and tic-tac-toe passing in the circle, the Vikings dominated the stat sheet, racking up 10 corners and 16 shots.

Shelton’s presence was felt early as she was fed with a gorgeous feed from Himsworth on the first corner of the game, sweeping it into a wide open cage for a 1-0 lead 1:32 into the contest.

In the second half, Shelton was the beneficiary of a gorgeous passing play, again off a penalty corner. Following her insert, Himsworth sent a through ball to Mara Wrzesniewski at the far post who then dished a perfectly-placed cross onto the awaiting stick of Shelton who tapped it home for a 3-0 lead. The tic-tac-toe passing play was evidence of effective communication according to Enters.

“It was nice to see you practice something and you do it,’ Enters said. “Our communication was really key in this win.’

Oh, and Giese? Well she was her usual dominant self at attack, scoring her two goals in impressive display, both coming off her strong side.

With the Vikings up 1-0 following Shelton’s marker, Giese evaded two Ridley defenders before being met by a Ridley back at the top of the circle. Giese went left, trying to attempt a reverse chip before a frantic Enters yelled out to go strong side. Giese planted, changed direction and ripped a laser off that deflected off a Ridley stick and past the keeper for the two-goal edge midway through the half.

Giese then culminated the Vikings’ scoring frenzy with two minutes remaining as she took another strong side rip that scorched past Johnson.

“We came in with the right mindset this game,’ added Himsworth, a Louisville recruit. “We knew we needed to win two games to make it into states. Now that we’re down to one, we’re real excited to come out next game and compete.’

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